Image of a Buy One, Get One sale sign

Do You BOGO? Paladin can Help Buy One, Get One Energize Your Business

by | May 28, 2024

If you like free stuff, you’re not alone. A study done a few years ago shows that 93% of shoppers’ favorite deals are BOGO – Buy One, Get One – sales promotions. The same research showed that 66% of shoppers preferred BOGOs to other promotions. So, any businesses looking to jumpstart sales don’t need to look any further than the most popular acronym in retail: BOGO.

The study, done by AMG Strategic Advisors, got responses like: “I like free stuff;” and “Seems like I’m getting more” when it asked respondents about why they liked BOGOs. Admit it. How many times have you bought into a BOGO?

They’re a staple of grocery store marketing, offering two-for-one deals on items most shoppers really didn’t need when they walked in the door. Those items are often soft drinks, chips, cookies and crackers, tortillas and other such “necessities?”

Cell phone service providers also use BOGOs extensively. They often bundle last year’s phones or cheaper models to entice subscribers to sign long-term service contracts.

The study also showed that the psychology of the sale inferring that shoppers get something “free” is more effective than offering a 50% discount which essentially is the same thing. While 9.6% of shoppers like the Half-Off offers, it doesn’t approach the two-thirds who prefer BOGOs.

What BOGOs can do for your store

“BOGOs can do a lot for your store,” says Charles Owen, chief experience officer at Paladin Data Corporation, a leading provider of digital retail solutions. “Some of the benefits are they get more shoppers in your store, they increase customer loyalty, they provide upsell opportunities which can increase average ticket amounts, they can stimulate new customer acquisition, and they can help clear out seasonal or non-performing inventory.”

Inventory management with Paladin Point of Sale can make these sales easy to set up and help them run smoothly and profitably.

Creating foot traffic in a store is the most obvious benefit of a BOGO sale. Shoppers will flock to a store to pick up their “free” items even if it’s something they don’t need. The perception that they are getting something for nothing is enough to drive shoppers to action and to your store. If a business’s margins are properly adjusted through a point-of-sale system, profit can still be made even though it is figuratively “giving away” merchandise.

Cultivating and rewarding loyal customers is a fundamental goal for any retail business. One effective strategy is offering Buy One, Get One (BOGO) deals. These promotions give the impression of receiving free merchandise, which can significantly boost customer loyalty. By incorporating BOGO deals into incentive programs and outreach efforts, businesses can further strengthen their connection with customers.

Clearing inventory is another benefit of BOGOs or other discounts. A BOGO or other similar discount sale allows retailers to get rid of less desirable inventory to make room for new, more desirable, or seasonal items. BOGOs are a great tool to move seasonal items when their season is ending, like selling snow shovels in the spring or patio furniture and pool toys in the fall.

How to make BOGOs (or any sales) work

There are many approaches to creating effective sales promotions.

Buy one, get one free spawned the most popular acronym in retail. However, there are a variety of similar sales you can offer: buy one, get a discount on the second; buy one, get a similar item from a specific class of goods; mix and match BOGO; and more. Sophisticated point-of-sale and inventory management systems can offer a variety of ways to organize a sale.

Targeting a specific group is included with nearly all of them. Once you decide on which products you want to clear out, aim your marketing outreach squarely at it.

Buy One, Get One sales on wild bird seed, for instance, can be aimed directly at loyalty program customers who’ve bought related items in the past. Then, those purchases can be used to upsell new and different kinds of feeders, birdhouses and more.

Bizfluent says segmenting customers into three categories – contractors, serious do-it-yourselfers, and casual home repair types – allows store owners to target their sales merchandise and messages.

Contractors typically don’t need much help when it comes to choosing products, but they can be prodded to purchase products offered through bulk buy incentives.

DIYers might be inspired to undertake a project simply because a product such as paint or stain is on sale. These customers are often eager for knowledge and instruction. Serious DIYers often purchase higher quality tools that contractors might use with the thought of future projects in mind.

Casual customers who are homeowners often need the most care and advice. They are more likely to depend on the guidance of experts and reward solid service with loyalty purchases.

Making sales successful

Supplying information is another way to make a sale work. If a business is looking to move inventory of paint and stain, garden supplies, or lawn care products, it can work with suppliers to see if they can provide merchandise displays, co-op advertising, or in-store demonstrations to jump-start the sale.

Expert advice can help prompt sales, especially for big-ticket items. Most hardware, lumber and building materials stores can leverage the expertise of their staff to provide that information. Garden center specialists who are particularly knowledgeable about what works in their growing regions are invaluable resources to customers. 

Create urgency. As with any sale, setting a deadline prompts action for consumers. “While Supply Lasts” indicates there’s no telling how long the BOGO or any sale will run.

Businesses with intuitive retail platforms make the mechanics of recording BOGO and other sales transactions a breeze. They also set up pricing plans and calculate sales merchandise return refund amounts.


It doesn’t take Jeff Bezos or Jack Ma to create a shopping event.

Individual stores or smaller multi-store chains can create their own shopping buzz with a little effort and a lot of marketing. If you’re going to throw a sales party, you must let people know.

So, whether you want to move some overstocked merchandise, or create your own annual shopping event, BOGOs or similar sales are a great way to jumpstart your business when foot traffic stagnates. Point-of-sale and inventory management systems can make them easier to set up and run.

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